We had the good fortune of connecting with Osbaldo ‘Ozzy’ Alvarez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Osbaldo ‘Ozzy’, how do you think about risk?
When I think about risk, I look at my parent’s story and the risk they took as immigrant parents to give me and my siblings a chance at a better future. My parents left their best friends, family and risked their lives at the border between Mexico and the United States to achieve the American dream. From them, I learned that risk is about taking a chance on myself. A leap of faith by confronting my fears and becoming a better version of myself. I’ve always been a risk-taker in my life by setting up goals and working extremely hard to achieve them while enjoying the process of the end result–for me that is a risk.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My name is Ozzy Alvarez, I’m a recent graduate in Industrial Design and a Minor in Business from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. I was born in Michoacan, Mexico, and raised in Modesto, California by two bold and fearless parents who migrated to the United States in pursuit of a better future for our family. My dad was never given the chance to go to school and my mother only finished High School in Mexico. Through all of my life’s challenges, adversities, loss, and serendipity, I discovered the freedom of telling stories through art & design. One of my favorite quotes is from American labor leader and activist, Cesar Chavez, “To make a great dream come true, the first requirement is a great capacity to dream; the second is persistence.” These two requirements, dream and persistence are what fuel me to be where I am today professionally.
Before going back to school, I worked in retail, healthcare, and the entertainment industry. Getting the hands-on work experience gave me time to mature and helped me prepare for the rigorous work at ArtCenter. I pushed myself as a student and as a student leader in my community inside and outside of the classroom. I was involved in student government and I was the first student ambassador for the ArtCenter Library. It was not easy, there were times when I doubted my creative talents and I was focusing primarily on putting others first. I was great with time management but I definitely struggled with my mental health after the campus closed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The sudden transition made it challenging to focus on my academics and leadership role model for the rest of the students. I believe that one of the reasons I was able to overcome these challenges was when I had to be honest with myself and understand that I needed help. I reached out to my support system, faculty, and staff mentors to help me get back on track and continue my student journey at ArtCenter. Also, elective classes that involved hands-on projects focusing on sustainability, innovative material research, and Color Material Finish (CMF) helped me escape from being in a room of four walls and a computer screen during online classes. One of the lessons I’ve learned along the way was to believe in the process–it’s not about where you start but it’s the experience you get out of the process of making and learning until you reach some sort of reasonable proof of concept to the problem you stared with.

I want the world to know that I am also struggling with my own negative criticism and my own doubts about how other people should see me as an adult. I want the world to know that times do get hard sometimes for me too but I believe that it will get better. Remember to not give up, be resilient and let’s try to support one another even in the smallest improvements. Life’s really about taking a risks.

I approach my projects as a multidisciplinary artist and designer. Many people may argue that being an artist and designer are two different careers. For example, these types of people may see the ‘art of design’ but I like to think differently, I see the ‘art in design’. One of the things that set me apart from others is my background as a theatre artist, experience in business and design, and my passion for sustainability. I’m still growing and will never stop learning and there’s so much more from Ozzy Alvarez come.

I am proud to be recognized and have my voice heard as a person of color and minority within the art and design community, but I am most proud of believing in myself. I get excited to know that my career will open opportunities to collaborate with amazing companies and brands.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is an interesting question because they are so many great places in LA to take a friend or family member. A great place that has become very magical for me is the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. I am a big fan of mystery and imagination, therefore when you walk through the front doors of the museum, you are immediately welcomed by two fossil skeletons of a monstrous T-rex and massive Triceratops. This experience will take you into their world millions of years ago. Plan to be there for 2-3 hours because the more you dig into the details the more history you will discover.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This is a question that is challenging for me to answer because part of my success has come from all of the wonderful support, mentorship and encouragement of others like my parents, my siblings, ArtCenter’s faculty, the ArtCenter Library staff, everyone in the Center for the Student Experience, the staff in financial aid and the generosity of scholarship donors. This time, I would like to dedicate my shoutout to the Color, Materials and Trend Exploration Laboratory (CMTEL) [pronounced ‘sim-tel’] at ArtCenter College of Design. CMTEL’s resources gave me the tools for design research such as material explorations, lighting technologies, trend insights and designing for sustainability. A special thanks to Karen Hofmann, Kimberly Marte, Kristine Upesleja, Justine Limpus Parish, Marshall Hamachi and the staff of CMTEL for introducing me to the world of CMF, Sustainable Materials and Wearables & Soft Goods in the product design program. Their mentorships have impacted my success in becoming the multidisciplinary artist and designer that I am now.

Website: https://www.ozzyalvarez.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ozzy.art.designs/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ozzy-alvarez-56a0841a6/

Image Credits
All images credit Ozzy Alvarez

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